PHILADELPHIA — The City today officially launched LinkPHL (pronounced “Link Philly”), activating the city’s first Link kiosks that deliver free super fast, secure Wi-Fi and other services at no cost to taxpayers or users. In addition to Wi-Fi, each Link kiosk offers free mobile device charging, phone calls to anywhere in the U.S., access to municipal and emergency services, maps and directions, and community events, arts and cultural information.
“I expect that Philadelphians and visitors to our great City will use and love all that LinkPHL has to offer. It is exciting to finally see the kiosks launch today in Center City,” said Mayor Jim Kenney, who was unable to attend the event. “LinkPHL’s many amenities support our SmartCityPHL goal of creating a modern infrastructure that will benefit Philadelphia for many years to come.
LinkPHL is provided by Intersection, a smart cities technology and media company, as part of its street furniture agreement with the City through the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability (oTIS). In addition to replacing and installing new bus shelters, Intersection will deploy 100 Link kiosks in high-density, high-pedestrian traffic areas throughout the city, beginning in Center City. The program is creating modern 21st century infrastructure in the City, at no cost to taxpayers.
“We are thrilled to build upon our successful partnership with the City of Philadelphia and oTIS to bring connectivity, useful services and local information to the streets of Philadelphia for residents and visitors.” said Jen Hensley, President of Link at Intersection. “LinkPHL is the latest step in our vision of improving daily life in cities by connecting communities, people, and businesses and we are excited to have Philadelphia join the growing network of Link cities around the world.”
LinkPHL kiosks also provide residents and visitors with useful information and engaging community content, ranging from timely information like news and weather, to civic engagement initiatives and enriching arts and cultural programs. As the program grows in Center City, this effort to showcase local art, cultural, and public information is complemented by the support of Center City District. Starting today, Links will also display content from local organizations and art from Britt Miller and Evan Lovett. Intersection will continue to develop partnerships with local organizations to offer Philadelphians new ways to engage with their city.
LinkPHL is free to users and taxpayers because it is supported through advertising on the Link displays. PECO, Pennsylvania’s largest electric and natural gas utility and a subsidiary of Exelon, will serve as a multi-year sponsor of the LinkPHL program, providing energy-saving tips and more on Link displays. In addition to covering the costs of installing, maintaining, and upgrading LinkPHL, advertising is also expected to generate millions of dollars in revenue for Philadelphia, which will help fund public services.
“We’re happy to be a part of introducing Link to the Philadelphia region. Our region is a national hub for academics and business innovation,” said PECO President and CEO, Mike Innocenzo. “Supporting services like LinkPHL for our community falls in line with our efforts to prepare this region for the future of technology and energy use.”
Through the new Link Wi-Fi app, LinkPHL is also one of the only free public Wi-Fi networks to offer a secure, encrypted connection. The app allows users to automatically and safely connect to LinkPHL’s Wi-Fi whenever they’re in range of a Link. The app also provides an interactive map that shows the nearest available Link hotspots and locations of future Links.
With LinkPHL, Philadelphia joins a growing network of connected cities. Intersection and its partners have already installed over 2,000 kiosks in New York City, London, and 12 other cities across the United Kingdom. The global network has over 5 million registered Wi-Fi users and hundreds of thousands of phone calls are made each month. The company also recently launched the Link network in Newark, NJ.